All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Hyderabad Member of Parliament (MP) Asaduddin Owaisi, who was asked to prove his patriotism in a programme on a Hindi news channel, hit back with a sharp criticism of the ruling BJP. “Even after I go, you will keep asking 10 generations after me to prove their patriotism. Get lost. I’m not keen on getting a certificate of patriotism from them. I keep their certificate under my shoe. I am loyal to India and will always remain so,” Owaisi said.
The Hyderabad MP was debating with BJP National Spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi on a programme on AajTak, moderated by anchor Anjana Om Kashyap, on the results of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections.
Asked by the anchor about comments by BJP leaders about conducting ‘surgical strikes’ in Hyderabad and whether Owaisi’s voters were not Indian, Sudhanshu claimed that the ideology of Jinnah still prevailed in the country as many Muslims had voted for the Muslim League and the creation of Pakistan, but had remained in India afterwards.
The anchor then asked Owaisi to prove his patriotism to which he hit back sharply and said “How many Muslims voted for Muslim League? Was there universal suffrage that every Muslim could vote? Only those with land and wealth could vote. And only those voted for the league and they went to Pakistan. Why don’t you tell the full story and tell only half the story and half of history? If Muslims had universal suffrage, no one would have backed Jinnah.”
“I just want to say that when you see a Muslim, please change your mindset. India’s Constitution grants me freedom of expression. Please feel free to follow your religion, but please understand that you can’t force anyone to do anything. I will stand for the national anthem, I will respect those who say ‘bharat mata ki jai’ and I will stand side by side with those who read vande mataram,” Owaisi said.
“Doesn’t India have freedom of expression? Is Modi’s government like (North Korean dictator) Kim Jong Un’s government? Is the Constitution dead? Jinnah ran away to Pakistan. We have always had our connection to India. Go to graveyards in India, you will see our loyalty there. Our elders are lying in the graves proudly with chests held high. I don’t have to prove my loyalty to India to anyone. Get lost. Do what you want. I am from India and I always will be. I don’t need anyone’s certificate,” he added.
Owaisi further went on to ask, “Have you opened a shop? You (BJP) will give certification for nationalism and Congress will give certificates for secularism? Don’t run this shop, please run the country instead.”
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— AajTak (@aajtak) December 5, 2020
Elections to GHMC threw up a hung house as the BJP made big inroads to deny the ruling TRS a clear majority. TRS emerged as the single largest party with 55 seats in the 150-member municipal body while the BJP won 48 seats, signalling its emergence as a dominant political force in the state. AIMIM, which retained 44 seats, emerged as the kingmaker. The Congress could win just two seats.